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    The Union victory at Yorktown, Va. The retreating Confederates have stooped to a new level of war crimes.
    A 3 page letter written in ink on legal size stationery headed, "Yorktown, Va. May 6th, 1862". It was written by Whitman W. Bosworth a resident of Webster, Mass. who served in Co. I of the 15th Massachusetts Infantry. That regiment had just experienced disaster at the battle of Ball's Bluff in late October with 120+ casualties, many drowning, and 191 taken prisoner and sent to Richmond. Bosworth was one of those captured. Reads in part:

    "Last Sunday as our Regiment were falling into line to go out on Picket, we heard loud cheering in the direction of the Rebel fortifications opposite our picket line."

    "We at first supposed it was the Rebels cheering, but upon arriving at our picket post, we found that the Regiment we were to relieve (the 19th Mass.) had crossed over and planted the Stars and Stripes on the Rebel works which they had evacuated."

    "The Rebels left a camp here with all the tents standing. Our boys made good use of them. My Company was sent out on Picket about a mile in advance of the Brigade. Our whole line was on the move. The right was in Yorktown and now following them up, Monday, 7 o'clock a.m. started for Yorktown, distant about two and a half miles, arrived at nine o'clock a.m. The greatest wonder in the world. Why did the Rebels evacuate these works? They are said to be the strongest in America. McClellan says that he could hold them with fifty thousand of his men against the combined forces of England and France for at least two weeks."

    "We are not allowed to run around here a great deal for there are a great many torpedoes planted about the works. It is supposed that some of them are connected with underground magazines as there has been one or two found with a piece of wire attached and running with the ground."

    "The torpedoes are planted in the ground, not intended to be seen, but if you step on them they explode. Those found are about the size of a peck measure. Yesterday one of their men stepped on one of their infernal shells. It burst taking off one leg, one arm and wounded in the other leg. It is reported that day before yesterday, seven were killed by the explosion of one of them."

    "The Rebels left about one hundred guns. A great many of them are quite large and the most of them were spiked. Some fifteen of them not spiked. Three or four of their large guns burst while they were firing them."

    "Tuesday last night about 5 o'clock, the whole Division were in line to move on board the transports, about one mile distant we were in line until about three o'clock this morning. During this nine hours, we moved three fourths of a mile and were then ordered back. It was the most uncomfortable night that I ever passed with the exception of the 21st of October last." (The battle of Ball's Bluff)

    "It rained all day and night. I was completely wet through and cold. Mud ankle deep but it was all military, I suppose. Troops are leaving here fast as possible. Report says on board transports to go up the York River as far as West Point to stop the retreating Rebels and make them fight. The advance had a fight yesterday at Williamsburg seven miles from here."

    "I have heard that the Rebels attacked us and we drove them back, killing a good many and capturing four Batteries. Genl. Heintzelman was shot. Genl. Devens passed through here this morning with one thousand prisoners. End. More next time. W. W. Bosworth"

    The letter is in fine condition with the usual fold marks. From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    6th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 266

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